A customised ’78 Landcruiser fitted with Maxxis M8060 Trepador tyres has made a super impressive underwater world record drive, successfully completing a 7km stretch beneath Darwin Harbour, at a depth of 30m!
The vehicle, dubbed the “Mud Crab”, and its resilient team, undertook what was the longest, deepest underwater crossing ever achieved, with the last similar attempt (40 years ago) foiled when it hit a rock.
A year of construction and planning went into the Mud Crab’s crossing, during which the Landcruiser was electrified and made seaworthy, complete with an oil compensation system and specially made batteries/electric motor.
It was a race to get to the starting line on 29 July, with the final parts of the car being welded and tested at just 1am the night before the drive. A team of 30 divers took part in the drive, frequently swapping due to the depths involved.
Starting at 9:10am from Mandorah, the drive took off to a rocky start with the car getting bogged multiple times just offshore. Things progressed slowly, with the team having to lift the car manually using floats and then lowering it back down every time the car got bogged.
Three hours into the drive the team ran into their first major obstacle, an underwater pipeline with a legal exclusion zone. Again, using floats the team lifted the car up and towed it over with the support boat, and after another hour they were clear to cheers from supporters at Mindil Beach.
By 3pm the drive had cleared maximum depth and the mighty Mud Crab had held up, but the crew kept running into bog after bog. Progress was slow and morale was low. At this point the divers realised that they’d broken the previous record of 4km, so with a renewed spirit the crew soldiered bog after bog.
There was only so much charge in the battery as the sun began to set at 7pm on Mindil Beach, and people were starting to lose hope. However, at 8:50pm, lights appeared under the water at Mindil. With the crowd rushing around the car, the victorious divers hoisted a barramundi caught during the drive — their amazing world record was complete!
In addition to the large crowd gathering in person to witness the Mud Crab’s underwater crossing at Darwin Harbour, it set social media alight and a number of news outlets closely followed the courageous attempt that has gone straight into the record books. Check out coverage in The Guardian and ABC News for photos, maps, commentary and more!